Tag:Bill Polian
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:20 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 11:20 pm
 

Peyton Manning's release: Winners/Losers

Manning

By Josh Katzowitz

With the news that the Colts and Peyton Manning will part ways Wednesday, there will, of course, be bystanders who are positively and negatively affected by the news. Here’s our list of winners and losers.

Winners

Andrew Luck: In his first year in a Colts uniform, Luck will get to experience the highs and lows of playing as a rookie quarterback. Sometimes this goes well (see Cam Newton and Andy Dalton). Sometimes this goes poorly (see, um, Peyton Manning). And while we could make the argument that Luck would do well apprenticing under a veteran for a season -- he wouldn’t have to deal with the top pick pressure for an extra year and he could learn the new offense without the media spotlight trained on his every move -- Luck will learn much more if he’s actually playing. Plus, he won’t have the Peyton Manning shadow hanging over his rookie season.

Jim Irsay: Already, Irsay has begun to renovate his team, firing Bill Polian and former coach Jim Caldwell, following the 2-14 season. Irsay has done a wonderful job turning the Colts franchise into a perennial Super Bowl contender (2011, of course, being the exception), and now, he gets to be involved in another massive rebuilding project. Manning, of course, has done perhaps more than anybody to get Super Bowl XLVI to Indianapolis and to get Lucas Oil Stadium built, but Irsay now can remake the team as he sees fit. Plus, like Luck, his team won’t have the Peyton Manning shadow hanging over the franchise in 2012.

ManningAFC South: We’ve seen what happens when Manning isn’t playing for the Colts: the rest of the division gets better! Well, except for the Jaguars, of course. But without their franchise quarterback in the lineup, the Colts went from being the scariest team in the AFC South to being the most toothless. That probably won’t change in 2012, in which the Texans -- who never could get over the Manning hump and who couldn’t make the playoffs until he wasn’t playing -- will be one of the favorites in the AFC. Without Manning, Houston might have the chance to become the new Indianapolis.

Colts fans: In some sense, the city has been held hostage by the Manning-Irsay impasse, and it actually overshadowed the early part of Super Bowl week. But without Manning around, the salary cap won’t be as rigid, and with Luck coming into town (we assume), he’ll bring a new sense of excitement to the organization and to the city in general. Yes, Indianapolis will miss a community leader in Manning, but who’s to say Luck couldn’t fill that role anyway.

Losers

Matt Flynn: In our free agent quarterback rankings, we listed Drew Brees as No. 1, Manning as No. 2, and Flynn as No. 3. Brees has been franchise-tagged by the Saints, and it’s clear that the possibility of landing Manning will overshadow whatever Flynn will be trying to do. Flynn to Miami? Well, let’s see if the Dolphins can land Manning first. Flynn to (fill in the blank)? Well, let’s see if (fill in the blank) can land Manning first. Flynn likely won’t be anybody’s first choice, and you have to wonder how that will affect his bottom line. Would you rather have Manning, even if he’s not completely healthy, or Flynn? The answer is obvious.

Robert Griffin III: While the Manning release is good news for Andrew Luck, it might mean something different for RG3. Like Flynn (though probably not as much as Flynn), other quarterback-needy teams will look at Manning first before (possibly) trying to trade up with the Rams in order to draft Griffin after Luck. Like Flynn, this might limit Griffin’s options, and it might actually mean Griffin isn’t taken with the No. 2 pick. That probably won’t happen, but if one of the teams (say, ahem, Washington) looking at Griffin ultimately goes with Manning and the rest of league believe St. Louis’ price is too high, you have to wonder if Griffin will fall to the fourth pick.

Manning’s bank account: Not that he needs financial assistance, but cashing in on a $28 million bonus would have been pretty sweet.

Rob Lowe: I guess we can forget about Lowe’s budding journalism career. While he was right in believing that Manning was done in Indianapolis, Lowe also reported that Manning would retire. That’s not going to happen, and unfortunately for Lowe, reporters don’t credit for being half-right.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:55 am
 

NFL looking at more changes to the combine

Can you imagine this image with two players running the 40? The NFL can. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Although the vision of two scouting combine participants racing down the lanes during the 40-yard run might be fun for the fans to watch and could enliven the atmosphere inside the building, that potential change to the scouting schedule doesn’t necessarily sit well with NFL executives.

As we told you Thursday, the NFL is changing the approach of how scouts time the 40, moving to using fully automated timing (electronic devices will be used for the start and finish), and Friday, the New York Times wrote the league is considering changing the 40’s setup so that two combine participants would race against each other.

The Times also discusses the possibility of players participating in the 225-pound bench press at the same time next to each other, quoting Eric Grubman, the executive vice president of N.F.L. ventures and business operations, as saying, “We would not want to do something that was just good for television, or just good for the fans, if it were at the expense of either the football evaluation or the players’ preparation. It’s a balancing act. The combine works.”

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Not necessarily, according to Texans general manager Rick Smith, who wrote this on his Twitter account Friday morning: “If the NFL is serious about players racing against each other at Combine so long to players working out there. Beyond stupid.”

The changes made likely would begin at the smaller, regional combines before moving to the main one in Indianapolis, but the league also can expect more resistance from team executives.

More from the Times.
While teams often conduct private workouts with players they are most seriously considering drafting -- and certainly with those who will probably be selected highest in the draft -- the combine provides something that football people value. It’s a way to measure players in different tasks -- the 40-yard dash, the broad jump, the vertical leap -- under exactly the same conditions, on exactly the same kind of field. Having players compete head to head would change the conditions for those players, possibly, some speculate, spurring players to run faster if paired with a speedster within their position group.

“I’m old school,” said Trent Baalke, the San Francisco 49ers’ general manager. “Let’s just roll with how we’re doing it.”

Bill Polian, the former Colts executive who now has his own show on Sirius XM Radio, said: “This has grown to a football trade show and I understand that. What we have to do is be careful not to lose the player personnel evaluation purpose of this.”

That’s a concern perhaps because of the league’s decision to allow a group of 250 fans into the combine to watch the proceedings. Combine that with the NFL allowing thousands of fans into Lucas Oil Field this month to watch the Super Bowl Media Day spectacular, and some wonder about the league’s direction.

So, why make these changes at all, even in the face of what could be massive resistance from the people who actually have to evaluate the players? This quote from Grubman might give you the answer.

“When you make it interesting, people want to see it,” Grubman said. “When you let them in, it gets bigger. When it gets bigger, other people want to be there. It goes from football media, who are attracted to it because it’s such a pure event, to popular media, to sponsors because fans are watching.”

And sponsors, of course, equal more money for a league that’s always looking to make more of it.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:31 pm
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

One man's opinion: injuries conspired to sink Indy's season in 2011. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Colts won two games in 2011. Two days into 2012, owner Jim Irsay began the house-cleaning by firing team president Bill Polian and his son, general manager Chris Polian. The front office had come under scrutiny after quarterback Peyton Manning began the season on the sidelines while he recovered from multiple neck surgeries and the team had no viable backup to replace him.

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Then there are the swings and misses with recent first-round picks that had taken some of the luster off the elder Polians' impressive roster-building resume. Excluding Anthony Castonzo, Indy's 2011 first-rounder, Polian is on the hook for Jerry Hughes ('10), Donald Brown ('09), Anthony Gonzalez ('07), and Marlin Jackson ('05), all players who have, for various reasons, failed to live up to expectations.

On Thursday, almost two months after Polian was fired, he spoke to the media about where it all went wrong. The Boston Herald's Ian Rapoport asked Polian what he learned about team-building after Manning's injury kept him in civvies on game day.

“No. 1, don’t have injuries,” he said. “And don’t have them in big bunches, either, specifically not the offensive line. And six starters on defense. You can’t overcome that. You don’t use injuries as an excuse or a crutch during the season, but when you lose, I think we lost nine starters, excluding Peyton for the bulk of the season, you can’t overcome that. That’s just the perfect storm.”

Hmm. Here's what we got from Polian: Don't use injuries as an excuse or a crutch during the season, but after the season it's fine.

Look, injuries make it that much more difficult to win in the NFL, but it's not impossible. The Packers suffered a ton of injuries in 2010, slipped into the playoffs as a No. 6 seed and won the Super Bowl. The Patriots, Giants and Steelers also lost a number of key players this season and all three teams made the playoffs, and two made it to the championship game.

Polian also admitted that the quarterback situation behind Manning was a fiasco.

“From the backup quarterback standpoint, I’ve said all along, I thought that we probably, I probably could’ve done a better job of building up that position,” he said via Rapoport. “But it wasn’t for lack of trying. We tried very hard once we knew that Peyton was going to be a long-term situation to try to make a deal for an established quarterback, but we couldn’t do it.”

Again with the qualifications -- "It wasn't from the lack of trying!" and "We tried very hard!" This isn't Pop Warner where everybody gets a trophy and trying hard is all that matters. In the NFL, players and coaches are judged on one thing: results. Ultimately, Irsay judged Polian, too, and it cost him his job. Polian did admit, however, that he has a newfound respect for what the Patriots pulled off in 2008, when Tom Brady went down in Week 1 and Matt Cassel stepped in and went 11-5 (although New England missed the playoffs).

“Well, they did a nice job,” he said. “They did a nice job. But they didn’t have… they had a great defense to go along with it, we did not. Much of it was lost to injury over the course of the season. That’s the difference between the two.”

Remind us: whose fault was it that the Colts' defense wasn't very good?

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:50 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 11:48 am
 

Report: Manning had 4th surgery, could need more

Manning

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s generally been reported that Peyton Manning has had three procedures on his neck in the past two years -- which caused him to miss all of last season. But Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks is reporting that Manning actually had a fourth surgery sometime between May 23 and Sept. 9 of last year.

Making matters a little more opaque, Banks also reports that Manning potentially has developed bone spurs in his neck that the Colts believe will require another surgery (and possibly, gulp, another fusion surgery).


The unreported procedure occurred last summer in Chicago and it was a follow-up to Manning’s initial neck surgery. Since this occurred during the lockout, the club physicians only had very little contact with Manning.

Manning's Offseason Saga
"I wouldn't have anything to say about all of that, one way or another,” Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, told SI on Wednesday.

According to Banks’ source, Manning badly wanted to return for the Week 16 Houston game last year, and he participated in an “organized and fully-scripted 30-play practice session” the week before in front of former executive Bill Polian and former coach Jim Caldwell.

More from Banks:
Polian was said to be initially frustrated by the extent and scope of the workout, which he then viewed as a surprising attempt to play in a meaningless situation at the end of a long and defeat-filled season in Indianapolis. League sources say the former leader of the Colts front office was taken off-guard by the intensity and pace of the 30-play session that Manning took part in. Polian was under the belief that it would be conducted at walk-through speed, but instead it was held at typical regular-season tempo with scripted play calls.

A day later, league sources said, the team's strength and conditioning staff impressed upon Polian that it had wanted to see how Manning responded to a fast-paced and scripted workout, because his recovery was not going to reach the next level if he simply continued to lob passes at a leisurely pace. And the practice was conducted from the 25-yard line on in because that was then roughly Manning's ceiling in terms of his arm strength throwing the ball.
Make sure to click the above SI.com link (or this one right here) to read more details about Manning’s past and his possible future. It's strong reporting and fascinating material.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:33 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 5:51 pm
 

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

Manning, Irsay

ManningBy Josh Katzowitz

Now that Jim Caldwell has been fired as the Colts head coach, what does that say about what will happen to the face of the franchise for the past 15 years?

Well, it’s probably not great news for those who would love to see Peyton Manning back at the helm of the Colts offense.

As we came to understand this year, Caldwell’s job absolutely depended on Manning playing* – though you have to wonder if Caldwell had gotten more out of his team like, say, a 4-12 season instead of a 2-14 record, maybe Irsay would have kept him – and without that safety net, he was exposed as something less than stellar.

*You know how so many people joked (or maybe they weren’t joking) early this season that Manning should be the league MVP this season because of how different Indianapolis was without him? On that same note, you could make the claim that Manning has done the most damage of anybody in the Colts organization. I mean, look at how many people have been fired because Manning didn’t play this season, including a potential Hall of Fame executive in Bill Polian.**

**Obviously, I’m joking (or maybe I’m not).

But now that Caldwell is gone, along with Bill and Chris Polian, will the Colts decide to bring back Manning for another season and pay his gargantuan salary to do so? Or, will Indianapolis completely begin to reconstruct the franchise without him?

We already know what Manning prefers. His father Archie Manning said Sunday that, “Peyton kind of likes his roots in Indy. … We’ll see what happens there. If that doesn’t work and he can get healthy we’ll see. That’ll all work out. He’s just trying to get healthy.”

While new general manager Ryan Grigson said today that he and the ownership haven’t discussed Manning or who their future quarterback might be -- though that claim seems rather dubious, right? -- here are four reasons why the Colts might decide they’re better off without one of the best NFL quarterbacks in history.

Colts Offseason
Can Manning be what he was?: We obviously have no idea. Manning has no idea. And it's obvious that nobody has any idea whether Manning, following spinal fusion surgery that kept him out the entire 2011 season, will be healthy enough to play in 2012 or whether he’ll be the same MVP-caliber player. Apparently, he’s on target with his recovery goals and he began throwing after practice toward the end of the season, but he’s still a long way from knowing exactly how healthy he can be going forward.

New guys who have no loyalty to Manning: Irsay believes Manning is like family. Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell did, as well. But Grigson won’t feel that way, and most likely, neither will the new coach. Because, well, why should they? And why should they be loyal to Manning? The answer: they shouldn’t, and if Irsay is cleaning house in his organization, he has to know that letting go of Manning might be the next logical move. And if he wasn’t OK with that, he probably shouldn't have fired everybody.

Drafting Luck: Although Irsay claims no decision has been made about whether the Colts will take Andrew Luck with the top pick in next year’s draft, there have been reports that Irsay will do exactly that. And really, how can he not? If the scouts are right and Luck is truly one of the best quarterbacks to emerge from college since Manning, how could Indianapolis not take him? Especially since Manning, at best, has only a few years left in his career, and Luck, if he’s anywhere close to Manning’s talent level, could be running that team for the next 15 years.

Huge money due: Manning originally was due a $28 million bonus on March 8, and though it’s been reported that the Colts want to work out an extension with Manning so they could postpone the decision (considering Manning seems to be amenable with the Colts and wants what’s best for his team, I imagine that will be OK), they can’t push the decision that far down the road.

And that’s really at the crux of the issue. The Colts need to know if Manning can play and play well. Manning can’t give them an answer. With a new direction for the front office, how much are the Colts really going to risk trying to ride Manning to the playoffs for the next few years? The answer: they very well could decide they won’t. And honestly, maybe they shouldn’t.

It's a new world in Indianapolis, and there simply might not be enough room for Manning in it.




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Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:44 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 4:58 pm
 

Colts fire head coach Jim Caldwell

Jim Caldwell was fired by the Colts on Monday afternoon. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Colts head coach Jim Caldwell's job appeared safe as recently as Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, he had been fired.

"This was a difficult decision," owner Jim Irsay said. "I wanted to make sure we took all the time we needed to make sure it was the right decision. ... And just like 14 years, ago, it's a big change for the franchise and at the same time, there's players, coaches, many people on the staff that will go into the new day and get on with the work of 2012."

Caldwell joined the organization in 2002 as the quarterbacks coach before succeeding Tony Dungy as head coach in 2009. In his first year as Dungy's replacement, Indianapolis made it to the Super Bowl, losing to the Saints.

Two years later, and without franchise quarterback Peyton Manning, the Colts went 2-14.


On January 2, shortly after Irsay fired team vice chairman Bill Polian and his son, Chris, the Colts' general manager, he told the media that Caldwell had done some good things this season but that, ultimately, the coach's fate would be decided after a new general manager was hired.

"[Caldwell] could very well be back this year, that is not out of the realm of possibility," the Colts owner said at the time. "Jim and I had a good conversation in terms of the immediate future." 

Colts Offseas

Irsay acknowledged that fans would probably like to see a change at head coach but supported Caldwell, calling him "a very bright guy, a great teacher, and a great personnel evaluator who prepares the team well." 

But when you lose 14 of 16 games, there are issues and Irsay recognized those, too. He said defensive coordinator Larry Coyer was a mistake (not a "good match as a Cover 2 guy") and that Caldwell struggled at times with game and clock management. 

Last Wednesday, Ryan Grigson was introduced as Indianapolis' new GM and today the team is looking for a new head coach. Presumably someone comfortable working with two franchise quarterbacks at opposite ends of their careers.

"Change sometimes isn't always the easiest transition to make but it's part of this game, part of this league and part of the direction we need to get going in this new era of Colts football," Grigson said Tuesday.

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Posted on: January 7, 2012 3:23 pm
 

Report: Colts will take Andrew Luck with top pick

IrsayBy Josh Katzowitz

With Colts owner Jim Irsay currently looking for a general manager to replace Chris Polian, who was fired along with his father Bill last week, he won’t have to ask anybody he interviews how they’d handle the 2012 No. 1 draft pick. That’s because he already knows what he wants, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

As has long been suspected, the Colts reportedly will choose Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in April, and no matter who’s brought in to take over for the Polian’s, that decision will not be altered.

Some wondered if the reason Bill Polian was fired in the first place was because he and Peyton Manning weren’t getting along -- Irsay is an unabashed fan of his quarterback and thinks of him as family. Polian said the rumors of a rift were untrue.

"He was the first person into the office after it happened," Polian told the Associated Press on Wednesdasy. "There's no rift at all. None.

Now, though, the big questions continue to be what the Colts actually will do about Manning, who’s due a $28 million bonus in March. Would Manning want to play with Luck? Will Manning's neck be healthy? Would the Colts ship Manning somewhere else to give Luck the chance to play immediately?

Now that we seemingly know who the Colts will take with the No. 1 pick, we might have to wait a few more months before the rest of those other questions can be answered.  

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 3:44 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Pick-6 Podcast: MDS, end-of-year awards

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

The playoffs are upon us but before we go full throttle for five more weeks of football, we first take a moment to look back on the 2011 regular season.

First, we discuss the latest names to join the ranks of the unemployed: Raheem Morris, Steve Spagnuolo and Bill and Chris Polian, as well as a Tuesday addendum to Black Monday's victims, former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo.

Then the conversation turns to our best and worst of 2011 list, from league MVP to biggest free-agent bust. 

Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com joins the podcast give us his awards, discuss the Lions' tall task of facing the Saints in New Orleans, the Steelers-Broncos matchup, and what the future holds for the Colts now that the Polians aren't in the front office.

Talking starts promptly...

(Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes? And if you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.)


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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com